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Agustin Gaytan's Mission Tours

by Sally Bernstein

Taste of the Mission

Chef Agustin Gaytan offers a tour of the Mission District in San Francisco, California with an accent on food. He has been leading this tour for three years and the tour consists of visits to businesses, a church in the area, an alley to view colorful murals and culminates with a Mexican lunch. Agustin, who speaks fluent Spanish, gives each participant a tour itinerary with addresses for later visits, a list of Mission points of interest and several of his own recipes. The tour last three and one-half hours and costs $48.00, including lunch. Advance reservations are necessary.

Our group of seven met in front of La Palma grocery where we saw corn tortillas being made by hand and tasted these wonderfully fresh delicacies filled with bits of crispy pork and a spicy salsa. What a way to begin the day!


On to Casa Luca, a Latin American shop that has foods to prepare any Mexican, Central American or South American meal. La Gallinita offers fresh meats, menudo and chicharron. We then walked down an alley where large colorful murals have been painted. Agustin explains the meaning of many of these as each one tells a different, often dramatic, story. On to Mission Delores church, founded in 1776 five days before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We visit the Basilica, or parish church, with its beautiful stained glass windows. We also visit the museum and one of the cities oldest cemeteries.

Other stops include Panaderia La Victoria, where delicious Mexican baked goods are made. A trip to the back of the shop and a visit with the owner is a treat, as are the coconut macaroons and pan dulce. On to Studio 24 and Galeria de La Raza which sell handcrafts, gifts and pictures. And don't miss Discolandia, a top Latin music store.

By then it was time for lunch, so we got in line at Pancho Villa Taqueria and enjoyed freshly made Mexican food while 2 musicians serenade us with traditional Mexican music. Or you might eat at Izalco and enjoy fried yucca, plantain, beans with cream and salsa, pupusas, nacatamales and arrallan (a tropical berry) and tamarind aqua frescas. Agustin uses both venues. Whichever he chooses, expect a lively, fun time with good food.

To book a tour:

Chef Agustin Gaytan

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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